COURT VOLUNTEERS RECOGNISED BY THE SINGAPORE COURTS FOR THEIR ROLE IN ENHANCING ACCESS TO JUSTICE
The Singapore Courts (SG Courts) recognised the sterling contributions, time and dedication of court volunteers who support the work of the Courts, at the Judiciary Volunteers Appreciation Lunch on 17 November 2023 at the Raffles Town Club. (Please refer to Annex A for the list of award recipients)
2 Mr Jason Dendroff received the Legal Assistance for Capital Offences (LASCO) Long Service Award, in recognition of lawyers who have served 25 years or more representing accused persons charged with capital offences at trial and on appeal.
3 Three outstanding court volunteers from the State Courts received awards for their outstanding commitment and support to pro bono work. They are Mr Melvin Loh Guo Wei (Advocate and Solicitor Category Award recipient), who started volunteering as an undergraduate, and continues to do so as a law lecturer today; Mr Ram Narain Dubey (Open Category Award recipient), a certified e-mediator, a lifelong learning advocate for whom age is no barrier; and Mr Ivan Tang Wu Hwan (Student Category Award recipient), a law undergraduate who actively volunteers with the Aid-in-Person Project. (Please refer to Annex B for the profiles of the LASCO Long Service Award and Outstanding Court Volunteer Award Recipients.) Twelve volunteers also received Long Service Awards for their dedicated service to the Courts.
4 The awards were conferred by The Honourable the Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon. In Chief Justice Menon’s welcome address to the court volunteers, he said: “I thank each and every one of you for so generously dedicating your time, energies and expertise to supporting the work of the Judiciary. It is especially gratifying that you do so not in pursuit of any material reward or publicity, but just because of your desire to do the right thing. There is no purer motive than this and we are deeply grateful. Your contributions make a real impact on the lives of our court users and you play a critical role in enhancing the delivery of justice in our legal system.”
17 November 2023
Annex A - Judiciary Volunteers Appreciation 2023 Award Recipients
About the Judiciary Volunteers Appreciation Award
The Judiciary Volunteers Appreciation Award recognises the sterling contributions of court volunteers, who have assisted and supported the Judiciary’s various programmes for self-represented persons and court users. Comprising members of the Bar, professionals and individuals from diverse backgrounds, court volunteers play an important role in the Judiciary’s effort to ensure that everyone who needs to access justice before the Courts is able to do so.
Legal Assistance for Capital Offences (LASCO) Long Service Award
The LASCO Long Service Award is presented to volunteers who have contributed to LASCO for more than 25 years. Under the scheme, volunteers assist those who are charged with capital offences, regardless of nationality, on a pro bono basis. The (LASCO) Long Service Award was presented to Mr Jason Dendroff.
Outstanding Court Volunteer Awards 2023
The Outstanding Court Volunteer Awards (Advocate & Solicitor Category and Open Category) are conferred by the State Courts and presented to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and dedication as volunteers. The Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Student Category) is conferred by the State Courts on students who volunteer their time on a range of projects based on their relevant academic experience and expertise. The Outstanding Court Volunteer Awards 2023 were presented to Mr Melvin Loh Guo Wei (Advocate and Solicitor Category), Mr Ram Narain Dubey (Open Category) and Mr Ivan Tang Wu Hwan (Student Category).
Long Service Awards
The Long Service Awards were presented to the following individuals:
|S/N||Name of Recipient||Long Sercive Award||Courts(s)|
|1||Deborah Koh Leng Hoon
|2||Krishna s/o Veerappen
|3||Mohamed Esmail Marican
||State Courts and Family Justice Courts|
|5||Dr Ronald Paul Ng||10 years
|6||Seet Pek Hua Maria Babara
||10 years||State Courts
|7||Wong Yuk Fong
||15 years||State Courts and Family Justice Courts
||15 years||Family Justice Courts|
|9||Wee Pang Kiat
||15 years||Family Justice Courts
||Family Justice Courts
|11||Chow Yin Mei
||Family Justice Courts
|12||Chan Pek Lin
||25 years||Family Justice Courts
Annex B - Profiles of Outstanding Court Volunteer Award Recipients
Mr Jason Dendroff, LASCO Lead Counsel
Legal Assistance for Capital Offences (LASCO) Long Service Award 2023
Mr Jason Dendroff was emplaced on the LASCO panel as an Assistant Counsel in 1997 after being called to the Bar in 1995. In 2017, he was appointed as a Lead Counsel. To date, Mr Dendroff has worked on 21 cases, of which two are live cases. It was his personal conviction that no accused persons on capital charges should be without legal assistance and advice, if not representation, that led to his application to be emplaced on the LASCO panel.
Apart from LASCO, Mr Dendroff is involved in the Community Justice Centre Legal Clinic and Pro Bono SG’s Criminal Legal Aid Scheme (CLAS) as a CLAS External Remand Merits Tester. True to his passion in ensuring that everyone should be assisted in understanding the law and have access to justice and lawyers, Mr Dendroff serves as a volunteer lawyer in the Catholic Lawyers Guild Pro Bono Legal Clinic and the Church of Christ the King Legal Clinic, and gives legal advice to low-income and elderly constituents in Ang Mo Kio GRC where he is involved in grassroots work. He is also a member and the Assistant Honorary Secretary of the Eurasian Association’s legal panel.
Mr Melvin Loh Guo Wei, Court Volunteer Mediator
Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Advocate & Solicitor Category)
Mr Melvin Loh has been a Court Volunteer Mediator (CVM) with the State Courts for nine years. From April 2022 to March 2023 (which is the award qualifying period), he volunteered on 88 occasions, mediating cases assigned to him by the Court Dispute Resolution Cluster. He started volunteering with the Courts in 2008 as a university student. Having seen how court users have benefited from the help rendered by volunteers, he continued to contribute his time to the Courts after graduation. He is now a Senior Lecturer with the School of Law, Singapore University of Social Sciences.
He also assists as an advocate and solicitor with various pro bono initiatives of the Law Society of Singapore. He is a Certified Mediator with the Singapore International Mediation Institute and an empanelled Associate Mediator and trainer with the Singapore Mediation Centre. He is also an empanelled mediator with the Community Mediation Centre.
His efforts as a CVM were recognised by court users when he received two compliments in July 2022 and March 2023 for his dedication and professionalism. One of the court users praised Mr Loh’s efficiency in mediating her case in the Forum page of the Straits Times in July 2022.
Mr Ram Narain Dubey, Court Volunteer Mediator
Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Open Category)
Mr Ram Dubey has been volunteering as a Court Volunteer Mediator (CVM) with the State Courts for seven years, and was the only CVM who volunteered in more than 30 sessions and mediated 10 or more cases in each of the last two years. At 68 years old, Mr Dubey is one of the Community Courts and Tribunals’ trained e-Mediators and is passionate about lifelong learning. He was certified as an e-mediator in February 2022 and has successfully resolved a dispute between parties via e-Mediation.
He was working in the banking and financial technology industry for about 40 years before transitioning to counselling and mediation. He was accredited as an Associate Mediator by the Singapore Mediation Centre in 2013, and now works as a Clinical Counsellor and Clinical Supervisor. As a CVM, Mr Dubey puts his mediation training to good use and fulfils his desire to help people resolve problems amicably. By facilitating negotiations, he helps parties make an informed decision on whether they should choose to settle on the terms offered by the other party. Mr Dubey is also a volunteer community mediator with the Community Mediation Centre.
Mr Ivan Tang Wu Hwan, Student Volunteer
Outstanding Court Volunteer Award (Student Category)
Mr Ivan Tang is a final year law undergraduate at the Singapore Management University’s Yong Pung How School of Law. He has been actively volunteering with the Aid-in-Person Project since August 2021, assisting needy self-represented persons intending to plead guilty to draft their mitigation pleas, and guiding them through the criminal justice process. From April 2022 to March 2023 (which is the award qualifying period), Mr Tang put in 79 hours as a volunteer.
Mr Tang’s motivation to become a Student Volunteer stemmed from his desire to ensure that every accused person has a fair day in court and receives a sentence consistent with principle and precedent, tenets of access to justice. To date, Mr Tang has worked on eight cases involving a variety of offences such as voluntarily causing hurt, consumption of controlled drugs, corruptly obtaining gratification as an agent, possession of property reasonably suspected to be the benefits of criminal conduct, and assisting with an unauthorised moneylending business.